Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

Another Day in Smog Paradise

One thing that has changed about Bangkok is the smog is back to being as bas as, or worse, than it was in 1975. My other trips, 1989, 2004 and 2008 it was not nearly as bad, thanks partly to it being the end of the rainy season, but mostly because both the city and national governments spent money and passed laws making vehicles cleaner. I am having a lot of trouble breathing, especially climbing the interminable stairs up to the Skytrain. They did not design that system to be accessible. And it's my main way for getting around.

Today it rained a little, on and off, and that meant all the little leaks sprung up. The usual solution is a bucket, and maybe a mop, and a yellow folding sign. Repair is out of the question. The flooded crosswalk was only slightly more flooded. I was out at about 9, the hotel tailor shop does not open until 10. I went out looking for a hat, and while waiting to cross the main street (a multi-lane divided almost-highway) a crew of road workers converged on the opposite side of the street and did all those things which workers do to make it not be flooded. Except the side they were on was not flooded in the first place, and they never crossed to the flooded side. Welcome to Thailand.

Did not find a hat, but did buy two bags of T-shirts and a pair of swim trunks.

Back to the hotel, went to the tailor, was measured by a middle-aged woman who seemed to know what she was doing. We settled on material and color for suit & pants and a shirt. She said to be sure to come back at 5 for a fitting.

Somewhere in there I had the free breakfast buffet at the hotel. Faux western food, mostly. Nice mini-croissants, though.

Skytrain back to MBK, had a strawberry smoothie and then walked a lot to finally find a floppy hat which would not get in the way of photography.  went back to the store which had the Nikon 28-300 new lens in stock, they wanted retail + 3% to buy it with Amex card, but I tried it out anyway. Way too heavy, the zoom is a rotary control which is very stiff. It focuses instantly and looks like it takes sharp pictures.  But not worth paying full price + 3% plus Amex's foreign currency fee plus US customs. And I would get tired of holding it pretty fast, so no didn't buy it.

Back to Skytrain, headed to what used to be the last stop at the other end of the line, Thaksin Bridge. When we got there, they announced the next stop instead of saying "end of the line". I stayed on till the end, which was across the river and two more stops. And there was even more track going off into the distance. The newest cars' route list showed about 3 or 4 more stops. Crossed to the other side and took the train back to the bridge. Tooled around and found a lovely park provided by the department of rural roads, with public restrooms. I didn't need one at the time, but they had signs everywhere.

Got to what used to be the water taxi landing, but all I saw were river tours. I finally asked at the biggest tour ticket booth and they said just pay the guy on the boat to get to the hotel where the Peace Corp doings are happening tomorrow.

Back to Skytrain and the stop nearest the hotel. Had lunch at the first place I saw with seating away from the street. Mediocre shrimp & cashews. Weird non-Thai sauce, but okay. Went through two bottles of soda water. Dehydration is serious stuff over here.

The phone was not connecting to the data network, so I figured I had blown through the MB which came with the phone. There is a phone fix place a few blocks down, across from the hotel. It took 20 minutes for them to figure out how to add 2GB to it. Meanwhile this is an enclosed space with a ceiling 4 storeys high, and two Arab moms chose to make their children scream while we were trying to do this. I wanted to stop by the Starbucks there, but screaming children.

Back to the hotel, did some email (the CU replied that they took the hold off of my card. Somehow the travel notice I took an hour from work to go to their office to do was not in their system. As if.) And did some facebooking.

At 5 I was at the tailor shop, the boss lady said she thought the woman who measured me did not get it right, so she re-measured me. Then the actual tailor arrived, he took one look at me and said the measurements were not right, they were too small. He had a prototype of the jacket for me to try on, and sure enough, it needed to be let out about half an inch in various places. He even stuffed shoulder pads in to pin them. I really like the material, it's Navy blue light weight raw Thai silk. Boss lady was marveling over my Thai, and she, me and the tailor had an interesting conversation about English as it is taught in various countries.  I am surprised how much of my Thai came back for that chat. I told the tailor that I always get fatter in the evening, it's "nature". Boss lady chuckled and said she could accept that.

She also convinced me to buy another pair of pants and a shirt. The prices are good for custom-made, and for a change it looks like everything will fit.

Back in the room, as I am writing I am eating fresh longans, bought from the stand across the street. Also have a huge bag of rambutan which needs attention.

So here I am, on the agenda:
Take a nap
Grab a cab to Patpong and check out the night life

Tomorrow:
Skytrain to bridge, water taxi to PC hotel. Hang out. Take pictures.
Tags: clothees, finance, food, shopping, thailand, travel
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